Realism, Not Cold Water



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A key beleif that drives traditionalists

"God's intent for the exercise of his good gift of human sexuality has become clear in Scripture, as interpreted and understood by over 1,200 years of Jewish history and the additional 2,000 years of the Christian church. Some who propose to change the definition of marriage to include persons of the same gender may not fully appreciate what it means to say that every single biblical scholar of the church, bishop, and defender of the faith for 2,000 years has been wrong in their understanding of God's word. The heavy weight of that much accumulated wisdom and piety is not to be lightly cast aside by a majority vote of a General Conference."

The entire article provides a good explanation of what traditionalists believe. It does not critique what progressive believe, it does not say traditionalists are right and progressives are wrong, it simply states here is how we understand who we are and who God is. We simply see things from an entirely different perspective than progressives and we are as committed to beliefs and understandings every bit as much as progressives are committed to theirs!

betsy more than 2 years ago

I agree

As a traditionalist I agree with the authors call to end the war. It looks like the traditionalists came out on top
Barely. The even bigger divide is between the clergy and the laity who are far more conservative than the clergy. I pray both sides will sit down and come up with an amicable split. Then hopefully we can get back to serving Christ.

Scott more than 2 years ago

The reality of the American UMC

It really is this big theological tent under which nobody is on the same page with anybody else. So, when one faction keeps insisting that it has to be the driving force for the entire church, it is ludicrous to expect that everybody is going to toe the line. Many traditionalists grasp that reality, many progressives do not; that is why traditionalists attempted to provide an exit plan and the One Church Plan did not. There is no unity to be had when all we have in common is a name and a symbol.

betsy more than 2 years ago

Hi Betsy

You've confused me here.

"So, when one faction keeps insisting that it has to be the driving force for the entire church, it is ludicrous to expect that everybody is going to toe the line."
So you... support the OCP, and not the Traditionalist Plan? Because the TP is holding the line, and ... that's ludicrous? Or is it only ludicrous when it's not the way that you feel is right? I hope you can understand my confusion here.

"that is why traditionalists attempted to provide an exit plan and the One Church Plan did not. "

Except that there were 5 exit plans submitted, including at least one from OCP supporters.

"The Rev. Tom Lambrecht, who was a member of the Commission on a Way Forward, said an exit plan was always something the commission felt was important — no matter what direction the church takes."

The one that was approved wasn't even one that was originally acceptable according to the Traditionalists.
[90066, at the bottom -]

JR more than 2 years ago

There is no unity left when...

Because of my beliefs I have been labeled regressive, homophobic, and a bigot. Furthermore, UMCNext has made if perfectly clear that my beliefs which are grounded in 2000 years of Christian understanding are all of a sudden contrary to the gospel of Jesus Christ!

And just because some electioneering went on to insure that more progressive delegates are present at GC2020 is no proof that the feelings of the rank and file person in the pew are being adequately represented. After all, it is at the level of the pew that the American UMC is truly coming unwound. And to date, no other mainline denomination that went progressive has seen an influx of people to counter the number of people who exited. Start living in the real world with the rest of us flawed human beings.

betsy more than 2 years ago

2000 years of Christian understanding?

"And to date, no other mainline denomination that went progressive has seen an influx of people to counter the number of people who exited."

So I'm confused, is it about the butts in the seats or is about being true to scripture?

JR more than 2 years ago


JR, being "true to scripture" results in "butts in the seats."

Mike more than 2 years ago

I find it interesting that progressives...

Only talk about negotiating with traditionalists only when progressives have the upper hand. Why is it so hard for you to treat us as equals who need to sit down and end a no-win war that has gone on for way too long? I do not want any connection with progressives because you do not know how to treat us with the respect due to people who simply disagree with you. Your inability to show that respect proves that your heart is not as mine. What progressives believe about sexuality is not nearly as problematic as the heavy handed way in which you try to force everybody to embrace your viewpoints and anybody that disagrees with you is an inferior being.

betsy more than 2 years ago


The progressives are in full afterburner mode to overturn GC 19. Right now we are in a winner take all situation. If the progressives succeed then the traditionalists will be exiting. If the traditionalists succeed then the progressives will exit. Staying together is not going to happen. That ship has sailed.
We have to understand that our membership numbers are shifting to Africa and we know how those votes go. The war we are engaged in must move to its ultimate conclusion before we negotiate the peace terms.

Kevin more than 2 years ago

Perfectly said

This shift isn't about 'winning'. Nobody wins if we fight, and barring a shift to extremes (90%) that is not possible, all we will have is a fight.

But a show of strength here changes the negotiations. IF the progressive side has the strength to stand up and say 'NO', to roll back the GC2019 changes, to even go farther for a time - that changes the calculus for the negotiated outcomes. Suddenly maybe the Connectional Conference Plan, previously deemed 'too heavy a lift', might actually be the best result. A show of strength here allows for us to negotiate on Constitutional Amendments to move forward. Working TOGETHER becomes more possible when there is no chance of victory.

It's a lesson we should have heeded previously. Better late than never...

JR more than 2 years ago

Hasn’t that ship sailed?

Dear JR,
It seems obvious to me Humpty Dumpty cannot be be put back together again after the acrimony and condemnations and accusations that have flown from both sides. The Progressives will not rest until their agenda is imposed on the entire denomination and the Traditionalists (of which I am one) will not stay in a denomination which we believe ignores Scripture as we read them. The Connectional Conference Plan satisfied no one. The only plans I’m interested in hearing about is the amicable separation plan that allows individual congregations to keep their assets and so they can move on. Hopefully there will be two organized denominations with the structure to maintain our episcopal system and connection within the new organizations and those two may choose to cooperate in funding certain general agencies, like UMCOR, which both organizations choose to support. I don’t care about the name and logo, as they are just names and brands, and damaged ones at that.

John more than 2 years ago

I agree, John

The question is, can we find some common ground (like UMCOR, which I think pretty much everyone even remotely aware is in support of), or do we have to have a full disaffiliation?

The Connectional Conference Plan wasn't unsatisfactory in theory (when originally considered) - it was deemed too complicated to pass. To quote Sherlock Holmes, whenever you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable.... since we've eliminated the Simple Plan, the OCP, the Traditionalist Plan... if there's any interest in retaining common factors like UMCOR, it's going to have resemble the CCP.

Certainly what mush also be considered is what a truly equitable exit plan should look like. It shouldn't be puntiive, but it also shouldn't be an easy hop. And to be honest considering the issues with the Episcopals, Lutheran, Presbyterians in recent years, a better exit plan years ago should have been put together years ago.

JR more than 2 years ago